DOD moves to get Army, Navy, Air Force linked to WebEx project

LAS VEGAS'The Defense Department wants the enterprise portals of the Army, Navy and Air Force linked to a pilot project to test secure, browser-based collaboration tools from WebEx Communications Inc. of San Jose, Calif.

Michael Krieger, director of information management in the Defense Department's CIO office, said his office is developing a Global Information Grid-Enterprise Services (GIG-ES) strategy that would provide guidance and instruction to Defense agencies and military services on moving toward an enterprise approach to services. Key services, such as collaboration and security, ought to be joint across DOD, Krieger said, although each of the services is also developing its own approach to enterprise hardware, software and services.

"All GIG-ES needs to be discoverable by all users," Krieger said today during the Army Small Computer Program conference. DOD has established several engineering working groups to hold roundtables with the agencies to discuss the best way ahead with a consolidated enterprise services approach.

To that end, Krieger said the department is also pushing use of the WebEx tools among the services. He said DOD has met with the Army's Network Enterprise Technology Command in an attempt to get the service to post a URL on the Army Knowledge Online site linking users to the Defense WebEx pilot. The department is also hoping to get the URL on the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet portal and on the Air Force portal.

"We're almost there," Krieger said of the department's efforts with the Army. "We have to adjudicate one last security issue to host it on AKO."

In October, the Defense Information Systems Agency awarded a $13.6 million pilot contract to Computer Technology Services Inc. of San Jose, Calif. The agency also agreed to test the tools from WebEx under the contract. The pilot has up to 3,000 users across DOD and was designed to resolve policy and procedural issues associated with collaboration as a managed service. Pilot participants will try out text, audio, video and whiteboard collaboration, as well as application sharing, broadcasting, virtual workspaces and session auditing, officials said.

Collaboration is one of the nine core enterprise services that DISA plans to roll out for departmentwide use over the Global Information Grid by 2007. The others are applications, discovery, enterprise service management, mediation, messaging, security, storage and user assistance.

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